Chicago has been rocked by a series of violent shooting deaths over the past year, but few instances were more shocking than the killing of six-month-old Jonylah Watkins in March. Koman Willis was charged with first-degree murder Monday (May 27) in the death of the baby girl, who was shot five times as her father was changing a diaper.
The Chicago Tribune reports that Willis,33, shot the baby and her father, Jonathan Watkins, 29, over a stolen video game system. According to Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Watkins stole the system from Willis’ apartment and sold it to a neighborhood associate. After the new owner powered up the video game console, he discovered Willis was the owner.
Considering Willis was a well-known menace and convicted felon, the individual returned the game system to the rightful owner and told him the nickname of the person who sold it to him. Willis pieced together that the thief was Watkins and went to retaliate. On March 11, Watkins and his daughter sat inside a parked minivan in the Woodlawn neighborhood. Willis opened fired on the vehicle as the victims were seated in front.
Although a surveillance video showed Willis fleeing the scene in a blue van, he was not publicly named a suspect although police had him in their sights. “Mr. Willis has been a suspect for a very long time,” McCarthy said. “The question was whether or not we could show it in a court of law.”
After investigators put pressure on Willis’ acquaintances, and other witnesses to cooperate, he eventually turned himself in to police on Saturday (May 25). Willis is expected in bond court today and brings with him a series of past offenses dating back to 1996 that include gun possession, assault, and drug charges.
Watch Garry McCarthy’s press conference via WGN below.
Photo: Chicago Police